My plane has landed in many continents, touched down in more than thirty countries in the last three years. The wheels have never stopped and the door has never opened and I have never looked upon any faces that I didn't think would like to trade citizenship with me.
-- PresidentLyndon B. Johnson, February 11, 1964
When President Charles de Gaulle of France surprised the world by announcing that he would fly to Washington for the funeral of John F. Kennedy on November 25, 1963, the new President of the United States glimpsed a rare opportunity to mend his nation's tattered relations with its oldest ally. Four months before the assassination, Franco-American relations had dropped to their lowest point in a century and a half. Personal relations between Kennedy and de Gaulle had become cool since their inconclusive though cordial meeting in Paris in June, 1961.
More and more, the French leader emphasized the depth of his opposition to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization as an instrument to insure American domination of the European continent. He had challenged not only London but also Washington in blocking the British from joining the European Economic Community (Common Market). And then, on August 4, 1963, diplomatic civility itself was strained almost to the breaking point between Kennedy and de Gaulle when the French President rejected the test-ban treaty signed by the other three nuclear powers--the United States, the Soviet Union, and Great Britain--together with most of the non-nuclear powers.
De Gaulle viewed the treaty as a violation of French sovereignty. His intransigence doomed Kennedy's plans to make the treaty the basic international tool for halting worldwide proliferation of nuclear weapons.* Laying aside his customary caution in public statements____________________